By Derek Maul
Carol Mclemore moved to Brandon because of a direct order from General “Stormin’ Norman” Schwarzkopf. That was 1991. Today she’s here because she loves the community.

“I joined the Air Force in 1979 to become an air traffic controller,” the Seattle, Washington native said. “But they sent me to Korea to build bombs. Later I was assigned Chief Flight Attendant out of Ramstein, Germany. That’s when General Schwarzkopf selected me to fly out of MacDill.”

“We had a blast,” she said. “General Schwarrzkopf is an amazing man.”

McLemore retired in 1994, but wanted to continue working where she could “make things happen” for customers. Real Estate fit the bill and in 2000, after learning the trade with TamBay and then Coldwell Banker, she established Choice Realty in the heart of Brandon.

“I designed Choice to give customers a choice of lenders, title agencies, inspectors and more,” McLemore said. “It’s not the money; if you provide service then the money will be there.”

Twelve years later the focused entrepreneur has 13 agents and is optimistic about market’s future.

“I’m positive,” McLemore said. “Real Estate is highly localized, but we’re seeing some properties get multiple offers. FishHawk and Bloomingdale are good, River Hills is doing well, low-end homes are flying off the market. Most of the action is at $175,000 and below, but prices are inching up a little.”

Buyers want to see properties that are move-in ready, she said, and it’s still an unfavorable market for sellers. But she believes the Brandon area is well past “bottom.”

“Last year and this year have been my two best in the recent past,” she said.

Brandon works, McLemore believes, because the community pulls together.

“I’ve been a member of the Chamber of Commerce Thursday leads group almost my whole career,” she said. “Everybody wants to help each other, and any business I’ve ever gone to is always kind and welcoming.”

Another source of optimism is faith, plus the working environment in her own office.

“I have probably the best agents in the world working with me,” McLemore said. “We depend on each other rather than compete, and help without asking for anything in return. That is so far different from a corporate run business.”

For more about Choice Realty, Carol Mac & Co., visit or call 651-2300.


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Derek Maul has written for many news outlets, including the Tampa Tribune, The United Methodist News Service, All Pro Dad, FOCUS Magazine, Newsweek, USA Today, The Christian Science Monitor, Presbyterians Today, Guideposts, Chicken Soup for the Soul and many other publications. Read Derek Maul’s daily blog posts at